What we at MIEW foods have learned is that not all spices are created equal. In one country something like chili powder can be very mild and somewhat smoky. In other countries it can be as fiery hot as fresh jalapenos. We made the unfortunate discovery while trying to make a western dish with eastern ingredients. It would have been a welcome surprise if we didn’t almost ruin the whole meal because it was too hot!
In SE Asia and India the trends we have seen is that spicy food is very much acceptable. It is very true that Thai food in Thailand, on average, is much spicier than US Thai food. While there are certainly restaurants that will make Pad Thai or Curry as spicy as you want it can at times come across as artificial, never really blending with the food but heat for heats sake.
As an aside I love spicy food, but I hate heat for the sake of heat. Meaning I have tried to eat authentic Thai spicy in Thailand but I would never eat food that makes you sign a waiver or forces you to eat X number in 5 mins to get your Polaroid on a wall.
I want to talk more about spices in future posts but I wanted to introduce some background on our future product offering. We want to import and distribute authentic spices but we also have to be honest about how these spices we will carry may be different than what you would be familiar with from your current distributor and maybe even your local Asian food store.